9 Best Wooden Model Boat Kits

9 Best Wooden Model Boat Kits
buyers guide 2021

9 Best Wooden Model Boat KitsWelcome to our ‘ 9 Best Wooden Model Boat Kits ‘ article.

Different people have different hobbies, but not all pursuits offer the same thrill as building a boat. Not an actual ship, but a scale model made of wood. If you love boat building, there are high chances that you are constantly searching for a suitable wooden model ship kit. 

This hobby is perfect for grownups and even kids, especially when you want to keep the kids busy as you do something different. Putting together the pieces is an excellent way to keep yourself busy also, and the result is undoubtedly worth it. 

There are multiple wooden model boat kits available right now. Some are easy to put together since they have pre-cut fragments, while others require a bit of knowledge and experience. The pre-cut parts package is suitable for you if you’re a beginner, but experienced fans might prefer something more challenging. 

We have reviewed nine of the best wooden model boat kits, followed by a detailed buying guide and FAQs. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the review.

After doing our research, we found that the Albatros Model was the best-selling ship kit in 2020. This is quite impressive, considering it has been in the market for approximately 12 months. This wooden kit is a 19th century Schooner, which might be why it has such a significant fan base in the U.S. 

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  • Scale 1:100
  • Difficulty: Novices` kit 
  • Size 57 by 21 by 41 cm
  • Type of hull: timber on the frame 

This 18th-century design boat kit will take you back to the good old days. This kind of boat was a big deal back in the 18th century and was constructed with the flush and plunks connecting at the seams instead of an overlapping construction. Typically, it has a tiny canon on the ship’s bow. It is on our list because it is the best option for advanced beginners, intermediate, and even pro-level builders.

The whole kit comes with high-quality parts, and they require extreme accuracy and concentration when putting them together. However, the manual has a lot of instructions that are easy to understand and follow. This 18th-century model will keep you busy for some time, and when you’re finished, it will be the ideal addition to your home or office. 

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  • Scale 1:24
  • Difficulty: advanced beginner
  • Size: 19 by 24 inches 
  • Materials: wood, metal canon, and brass 

When it comes to ships with a fascinating history, this is among the most well-known vessels on earth. For instance, it was the ship that carried Charles Darwin throughout the world. For this reason, it has been among the most preferred vessel amongst modelers. Besides, when blended with the high-quality build, it has become among the best sellers quite fast. 

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  • Scale 1:60
  • Difficulty: Intermediate builder 
  • Size: 72 by 23 by 48 cm
  • Type of hull: timber on the frame 

This is the ideal gift for the child who loves putting together model boat kits. Also, if you are looking to boost your interior décor a bit, this is a decent option. It takes a short time to build, comes with top-quality parts, and it is affordable. We picked it to be a safe choice for kids since it is made using environmentally friendly materials. 

It comes with an informative manual with plenty of instructions to help your children during the construction process. The final product is a magnificent boat that would be an incredible addition to your house. It is also suitable for adult beginner builders. 

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  • Materials: cloth and wood
  • Size: 11 by 5 by 15 inches 
  • Difficulty: children and beginners 
  • Assembling time: 5 to 10 hours 

This boat carries a lot of history, primarily piracy-related, which is a fascinating story that most boat lovers and other people appreciate. For this reason, pirate movies are becoming more popular by the day. This is where the Buccaneer boat comes in; it is a duplication of the Caribbean privateer ships.

Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise you that this magnificent wooden model boat kit is on this list since it is affordable and the pieces are made of high-quality materials.

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  • Scale 1:100 
  • Size: 22 by 9 by 18 inches 
  • Difficulty: intermediate builder 
  • Type of hull: timber on the frame
  • One of the best wooden model boat kits

If you are experienced in shipbuilding, this is the ideal wooden model boat kit for you. Model Shipways is a well-known brand in this industry and with good reason. Their model kits are made using high-quality materials. In particular, this boat has been designed by the prominent Chuck Passaro, and therefore you can be sure it is genuine and precise throughout its entire making.  One of the best wooden model boat kits.

They have included a short history of this 18th-century ship, which lets you know more about it before you put it together, thus motivating you. Nevertheless, this kit is not suitable for beginner builders. 

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  • Scale 1:64
  • Size: 27 by 33 inches 
  • Materials: brass, metal, and basswood
  • Difficulty: intermediate to expert builders

The HMS Victory has a captivating history which is why it`s no surprise that it is on this review. Its hull’s intricacy, design, and shape mean that it is typically a design for the advanced beginner builder. But, on the other hand, this attractive cross-section is the easiest way to construct Admiral Nelson’s well-known flagship. One of the best wooden model boat kits.

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  • Scale 1:98
  • Size: 6 by 36 by 71 cm
  • Difficulty: beginner builders 
  • Type of hull: timber on the frame 

Everyone loves a ship with a beautiful design. While putting together the model kits is an excellent way to keep yourself busy, the final products, after spending a lot of time building them, make it worth it. The Artesania boat has a rich history and is made using different woods for a beautiful and realistic look. Considered one of the best wooden model boat kits.

This kit comes with all the necessary tools to build the boat. While it takes a long time to put it together, the final product is a stunning ship that would look perfect in your living room or office. 

The Artesania is among the boat kits in this list ideal for beginner builders with no experience whatsoever. Also, It comes in many parts; thus, you need to be keen to put it together right.

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  • Scale 1:41
  • Materials: brass, mahogany, Applewood, Plywood, and Ramin 
  • Size: 21.25 by 19 inches 
  • Difficulty: beginner builders 

Last on our list of best wooden model boat kits is this beginner wooden boat kit. This is a replica of a 19th-century boat that was initially built for royalty. Due to this, it has piqued the attention of plenty of boat builders. In addition, it features a typical shape on most sailing boats of that century.  One of the best wooden model boat kits.

This kit is ideal for beginners as young as 13 years. Besides, it is available as an all-in-one product.

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  • Scale 1:177
  • Size; 28 by 4 by 35 cm 
  • Difficulty: beginner builder 
  • Type of hull: timber on the frame 

Buying guide

Now that you know the best wooden model boat kits, we’ll delve into the buying guide. While we have listed multiple options for different skill levels, it is essential to know what you need to consider before buying a model boat kit. With the number of intimidating products in the market, it might be challenging to know the best product. Besides, it would be remiss of us not to include a buying guide.

Here’s what to consider before buying any wooden model boat kit;


As with anything you buy, the first thing is to check whether the product will meet your preferred needs. For instance, you can buy a specific kit when it comes to model ship kits due to its appeal and rich history. Moreover, you might prefer one that’s not too easy to put together. But, again, this will depend on your preference. 

Furthermore, the other motivating variable is childhood memories. You might have memories of going fishing or traveling with family using a particular boat. Therefore, before choosing any wooden model boat kit, look through various products and settle for the one that you like. 


Typically, you need to do a bit of research before buying a particular model ship kit. Research the brand and its reputation. This can be done by searching for information about the brand on the internet. Also, read customer reviews since this is the most reliable information you will get. 

What’s more, do your homework and learn about different ship parts and how they connect. This will come in handy in assisting you in finding your preferred model. 


You need to look for a kit that you can afford. First, decide the amount you are willing to spend, then select a product within that range. The best way to stick to your budget is to measure up the prices. Currently, with the wide range of online retailers, you can compare prices from different websites.

Also, if you have the time, you can visit physical stores. Besides, do not forget to check the available products’ warranty, which allows you to get your cashback or have damaged parts replaced. 


When putting together the parts of your ship, it is vital that you have the proper tools. Many wooden model boats utilize a plank-on-frame build, which means you will require placing every plank independently to develop a hull. This is where your tools will come in, and in this case, the electric plank. 

Besides, you will need ample working space to put the ship together. Ensure you have clamping tools, soldering iron, and glue gun to do a proper job. At times, you might require rubber gloves to shield your hands and safety glasses to shield your eyes. 

Drawing sheet & instructions manual

The next thing to look for is the instruction manual. Make sure you can understand it since this is a significant determining factor of success. Drawing sheets offer precision. Additionally, the drawing sheets offer you an idea of the possible scale ratio. 

Make sure your model boat kit has these two essential products. You can also go for manuals featuring colored pictures for a more effortless construction experience. 

How it will be delivered 

If you are going to purchase from a physical store, this is not an issue. On the other hand, if you’re buying your model kit online, you should consider their delivery method. 

Model kits are somewhat delicate, and they feature minor detailed portions which could be damaged easily. For this reason, ensure the retailer has a safe way of packaging and delivering without damaging it. 


Also referred to as cabinet, this is a critical factor to consider. This can considerably boost your model’s appearance. First, check to see if it features a wooden base and display cabinet. If not, you can choose a model that has them or purchase them separately. 


Even a wooden model ship kit features other materials other than wood. Some parts are made using wood, while others feature metal. In addition, various fabrics are utilized for the sails. Also, some manufacturers utilize putty and wires to construct different elements of the ship. 


If you genuinely love and appreciate your model ship’s history, ensure the kit is as good as the source. You can do this by checking the model kit’s description. Search for variables like the diameter. This will be handy in checking the authenticity of the model kit to its initial source. 

How to properly take care of your wooden model boat kit 

Having a wooden model boat kit is a huge responsibility because you need to keep the parts clean, and even when you`re done putting it together, you have to check on it every now and then. To make it easier for you, we`ve listed a couple of things you might need to do to keep the parts and the ship as good as new. 

Take care of the pieces from the beginning.

Properly taking care of your model begins once you start putting it together. First, take care of each part depending on the material it is made from. 

The metal parts are susceptible to rust if they are not washed properly before using them. Clean those using warm water and soap. What’s more, you can apply a coat of nail polish remover. 

When it comes to the wooden parts, which need to be stained or painted, you have to prepare them for sanding. Begin by sanding the woods, followed by dusting them off using a clean cloth. Sanding lets the paint soak inside the wood and prevents fading. 

Besides, you can utilize varnish, Tung oil, or stain to shield the wood. Finalize the procedure by utilizing a polyurethane topcoat. 

Don’t leave them open.

Your model ship will feature numerous small parts; thus, they will accumulate dust if you just leave them in the open. Utilize a display case to avoid this. Then, you can purchase or build them. 

As for materials, you can pick between glass, Bevelled Acrylic, and Plexi-glass. The most durable option is Plexi-glass. It will shield the parts from stains and oil. The display case will especially come in handy if you have a pet or children. 

Nonetheless, glass cases can at times build up acidic fumes, which will damage your model’s fabric. To avoid this, utilize a BoPET sheet between the bottom of your case and the glass to allow for aeration. 

Heat and light

Direct sunlight will damage the materials of the sail clothing and other fabrics. Also, keep the model under reduced voltage LED, and ensure the room it’s not too hot or wet. 

Additional tips 

After doing all this, and you still feel that it’s not enough, here are some additional tips;

  • Open the case every two weeks and dust the pieces off using an air dryer on cool mode. Utilize bee wax to shield the rigging lines from being damaged.
  • Use hairspray on the materials since it will prevent them from tattering.


Which brands make the best wooden model boat kits?

It goes without saying that every business venturing in the wooden ship kit design describes its model as the best in the marketplace. Personal sentiments highly determine this. Acclaimed brands vary in the designing of the said wooden ship kits. Some of the best boat ship designs are from;

  • Kolderstok
  • Nordic class boats
  • Model shipways
  • Amati
  • Artesania
  • Pan art
  • Disar

Which wood is best for ship models?

Balsa is the most reliable type of wood used in boat and ship models. It is the best for boat and shipbuilding due to its flexibility and ability to adjust to an almost circular shape. Therefore, balsa is highly recommended; it does not cost you much to purchase; this applies mainly to start-ups in the model boat building Industry.

Mahogany, or rather cherry wood, follows the latter in curving the best wooden designs of ship kits.

What are the best model kits?

Model shipways, without a shadow of a doubt, present the best ship kits. However, with model shipways come characteristics best suited for starters or designers who build models regularly. In addition, model shipways help to create a sense of relation with children.

Who comes up with the best plastic ship kit designs?

Brands manufacturing plastic ship design kits are not that many, but Revells turns out to be the highest-ranking amongst all. Other plastic ship module companies are;

  • Modelcraft
  • Airfix
  • Hasegawa
  • Trumpeter

In as much as most, if not all container and industrial ships are made of plastic, pirate ships that date a while back are also made of plastic. A majority of pirate vessels are made up of HMS ships and boats.

Before Commencing, Do I need previous modeling know-how?

Of course not.

Several beginner kits available to the public require no earlier experience. Although this might be, having prior knowledge of the model kits is an advantage to you.

For starters, one should be cautious when identifying his/her kit. Preferring a costly kit would be a rather unwanted choice. Why so? Human is to error. For the first available kits, it’s more likely for you to make a few mistakes when choosing the best models of wooden ships. So, subsequently, you should acquire one that is inexpensive and specific to new users.

Tools to acquire;

Magnifying glasses, clamp stands, paintbrushes, glue guns, mechanical saws, work tables. These are necessary when it comes to modeling wooden ships.

Electric plant benders and soldiering iron may also be of importance when it is a matter of advanced models of wooden ships.

Are you purchasing or building a design from scratch?

For beginners, buying a kit is advisable.

Model boat building kits come with content based on specific and procedural guidelines, which make your designing effortless.

As time goes by, building boat models from scratch becomes easier. However, this requires accuracy, knowledge, skill, and patience.

Do all designs float?

No, they don’t.

Some of the models can float, while some are just meant for display purposes.

For designers in need of floating model vessels, you have to peruse through its content/ abilities. Descriptions more often than not contain information concerning the model’s floating capabilities. For more details, you should contact the seller.

Summary: 9 Best Wooden Model Boat Kits

Constructing your wooden model ship is quite the experience, whether you plan to do it alone or with your kids. The top-notch wood typically utilized for the kits we have reviewed here guarantees an easy assembling procedure that will be worth it once you’re done. Besides, the final product can be placed in your house or office to complement your interior décor. There are numerous wooden model boat kits, and they come in various themes. 

To buy one that is perfect for you, it is crucial to research appropriately and check the complete model’s pictures online or on the cover. This is handy in giving you a good or not-so-good first impression. In addition, it will help you determine whether you will like the final product once you finish putting it together.

Now that you have seen the best wooden model boat kits of 2021, followed by an informative buying guide and tips on how to take care of your model, it’s time for you to go online and buy yourself one or more and get busy building!

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